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Haitian Prison  From My Utmost for His Highest

Thus says the Lord: ’I remember . . . the kindness of your youth . . .’ —Jeremiah 2:2

What is the kindest thing we can do for God?

I’ve never asked that question before, but reading Chambers’ devotion for today, what is the kindest thing you/I/we do for God? Maybe helping someone out today would be the kindest thing? How about spending the day playing with the kids? How about cleaning up around the house? Or would it be throwing this all away, packing up and feeding kids in Africa-my mother-in-law is on the edge of her seat for this one…

My own struggle is with love. I don’t want more than a couple drinks. God put my lust in check and I’ve got a hold on greed, I think. I mean to say that I don’t have some of the public struggles that tear families apart, or do I?

Loving others isn’t my default reaction. At times that I’m closest to God and in the Word, it has been. And even when it is not, I can eventually get there. I am very empathetic for peoples outside my immediate circle. I’m still affected by a photo in the New York Times four years ago of Haitian prisoners stacked on top of each other—maybe 50 of them—in a small cell. I have a photo of a mother crying out in front of a church that was bombed in Pakistan in my closet. That may not be love, now that I think about it, but I really do feel for them.

But those closest to me, I’m not as good as others think I am. I get busy. I start counting hours left in the day against things I need to get done. I meet them at times that I’m tired, having already given my best elsewhere. There’s something interesting on my phone.

I’m rereading the book-A Rooster Once Crowed-to see how the eBook works and I’m learning from it, again. I’m reminded about the importance of love. Somehow, lately, I’ve forgotten that. I’ve moved on to the mission, to checking boxes and getting things done. So here’s what I’ve learned:

The kindest thing we can do for God is all that list of things in the second paragraph, and more, but only if it’s powered by love.

We think of love as a spring within us that feeds us and flows to our family and our community. But love is a reservoir—some have a HUGE one and some get by with an extremely small one. Everyone starts with a bit of love in the tank, but we consume it out in the world. We use a little of it on our kids and a lot of it when someone else enters our cell or sets off a bomb, but sooner or later, it can run out, and there’s only One Who can refill it.

A non-believer might disagree, but look to the results. I can run my car on kerosene or rubbing alcohol, for a while, but to keep everything in warranty, I have to come back, repeatedly, and ask for, plead for the good stuff to fill my reservoir.

I may not have a public struggle that would tear my life apart (alcohol, drugs, infidelity), but without asking for love—the lubricant for any relationship—who knows how far I could have ground it down before it just seized up. Loving others is the kindest thing we can do for God. Jeremiah knew it, too.

I love you.

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